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Overt violence worst

To the Editor:

Lukas Ruecker's guest column ["Reagan played Rambo in hijacker interception," Oct. 29] was philosophically incorrect on several major issues.

His main points seemed to be that the United States had violated the concepts of international law by sending Navy jets (not the Air Force, by the way) to intercept the airplane carrying the hijackers to a "tribunal" in Tunis. That is not true.

The exact motivations surrounding the hijacking remain veiled, but it is definitely suspected that the crime was premeditated and not a spur-of-the-moment decsion by the hijackers. From the beginning of the ordeal, it was clear that the act was directed primarily against the Americans on board. This was shown by the more brutal treatment of the eleven American passengers and the eventual selection of an American for execution.

Leon Klinghoffer was an obvious symbol of the helpless victim of international terrorism: 69 years old and confined to a wheelchair, he was unable to defend himself -- just as all travellers abroad are unable to defend themselves. Marilyn, Leon's wife of 36 years, related the story of the ordeal on Oct. 28, reported by The New York Times. She is quoted as saying, "It is essential that all of us become soldiers in the battle agianst terrorism."

Under anybody's standard of international law, an overt act of violence is more serious than a threat of violence. Thus, the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, an American, is the most serious crime of this affair. The hijacking comes next, as a threat of violence, again being directed primarily against Americans. Despite the fact that the cruise ship belonged to Italy, Americans were the main victims of the crime. America, therefore, has primary jurisdiction over the crime and the trial of the terrorists, and was perfectly justified in bringing them to justice.

The collapse of yet another Italian government cannot be blamed on the United States, considering the fact that Italy has had nearly forty governments since the end of World War II, each with an average lifespan of under two years. And Egypt has never been a strong ally of America in the Middle East because of its strong hatred for Israel.

The United States simply pursued its avowed track of foreign policy, and if either Italy or Egypt looked like fools, as Lukas claims, it was because they both behaved foolishly in dealing with the issue of international terrorism.

Daniel Pugh '88->